Ashok Menaria and Kedar Jadhav cracked half centuries as India ‘A’ inflicted a 3-0 whitewash on New Zealand ‘A’ with a thrilling two-wicket victory in the third and final unofficial ODI match at the ACA-VDCA Stadium on Thursday.
India only managed to complete the task with four balls to spare, with Mandeep Singh playing a 27-ball unbeaten 37-run cameo towards the end. He hit three boundaries and a six during the all-important knock.
Chasing a stiff 291-run target, the Indians suffered a top-order collapse before all-rounder Menaria scored a quickfire 69 off 52 balls that included two fours and eight sixes. He was involved in a brilliant 128-run fifth wicket stand off just 107 balls with Jadhav (57), which denied the Black Caps a consolation win.
A late counter-attack by Mandeep then made sure that the hosts won the match comfortably at the venue in Visakhapatnam.
Having sealed the three-match ODI series already, India tested their bench strength in this inconsequential match by giving a chance to spinner Jalaj Saxena and batsman Sanju Samson.
Earlier, opener Anton Devcich top-scored for New Zealand A with a 85-ball 66, studded with eight boundaries, while Corey J Anderson (59) and skipper Tom Latham (53) also hit half centuries each to contribute to the team’s total after India A asked them to bat.
The Indians were sloppy on the field throughout as they dropped two catches, including that of Anderson’s, to allow the New Zealand post a huge total of 290 for nine. Basant Mohanty (2/39), Menaria (2/45) and Jalaj Saxena (2/60) picked up two wickets each for India A.
In reply, India lost four wickets for just 79 runs on the board in 19.2 overs, despite opener Robin Uthappa scoring a fine 50-ball 46 with the help of six fours and a six.
Skipper Chand, who led by example in the series, scoring 94 and 59 in the first two ODIs, failed in this game, getting out for just 11. Menaria walked into the middle after Uthappa and Sachin Baby (16) were dismissed in successive overs.
The left-handed batsman fired from the word go and accelerated the run-rate by hitting three sixes off Todd Astle’s first over before punishing him again for two consecutive maximums — one over long on and another over long off — in his very next over.
From 79 for four in 19.2 overs, Menaria, in the able company of Jadhav, helped his team score 100 more runs